How Does an Appeal Bond Work?

By Jane Meggitt
Image of a judges gavel.

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If you've lost your case in the trial, or lower, court, all is not necessarily over. You usually have the right to appeal, or challenge the decision in a higher appeals court. If the lower court ordered you to pay a judgment, you usually won't have to come up with the money until you've exhausted the appeals process. However, you must post an appeal bond to ensure you can pay the judgment.

Appeal Bond

Also known as a supersedeas bond, an appeal bond is usually required by the lower court when a losing defendant decides to request that the case be reviewed by an appeals court. By posting an appeal bond, the defendant guarantees that, should he lose the appeal, the original judgment against him will be paid. The appeal bond can also guarantee payment of additional expenses and interest. The defendant might also have to put up collateral -- or personal property -- for the bond with a surety, or bonding, company. If the defendant doesn't post an appeal bond with the court, the winning plaintiff can seize his property for the judgment within two weeks after the lower court enters its order. The entire amount of the judgment -- or more -- is reflected in the amount of the appeal bond.

Releasing the Bond

You can't cancel your appeal bond. It's discharged by the court only after the appeals court renders a decision or you settle the case in the meantime. If you lose the appeal, years can pass before the bond is released and you're no longer responsible for the judgment, depending on when the plaintiff collects the full amount of the judgment awarded him. This helps discourage frivolous appeals.

About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.